Location: 201 Geary Avenue, Toronto
I mainly came to Prairie Boy to try the double-fermented multigrain sourdough, which Toronto Life recently called one of the best loaves of bread in the city. And yeah, that’s a serious loaf of bread; it’s dense, hearty, and has a delightfully aggressive sourdough flavour, with a sour tang that’s almost too intense (tang for days!). It’s very good.
(Alas, I completely forgot to take a photo, so you’ll have to use your imagination; it’s round, rustic, and seriously seedy.)
I figured I’d try one of their pastries while I was there, so I went with the cheesy scone. I wish they had heated this up, or served it fresher, because it was a bit clammy. But aside from that it was quite tasty, with a nice buttery flavour and a good amount of cheese.
Also, I don’t think this bakery has any affiliation with the sadly departed Prairie Girl Bakery, but man, remember that place?? Because I do. RIP.
Location: 499 Runnymede Road, Toronto
I generally don’t pay much attention to ice cream shops that don’t make their own ice cream, but I figured I’d give West End Waffles and Scoops a shot. They serve Shaw’s Ice Cream, an Ontario-based company that seemed like it might be a bit more interesting than the usual Kawartha or Nestle.
Outside of the ice cream, I think West End Waffles and Scoops makes pretty much everything else from scratch, including waffles, sauces, cookies, and cones. I went pretty simple, however, and just got a scoop of Grammy’s Cupboard, which features a vanilla base with brownie pieces, cookie dough chunks, and peanut butter swirled throughout.
It’s not bad. It’s not on the level of the better places in the GTA, but the ice cream is nice and creamy with plenty of tasty mix-ins, and a clear step up from something you’d find in a supermarket freezer.
Cinnamon Toast Crunch ice cream at Churnt Up
I decided recently that if I eat something I don’t particularly enjoy, I’m not going to write all that much about it — I think there’s enough negativity in the world, and I’d rather spend my energy focusing on stuff I like rather than stuff I don’t. That being said, I’ll say that Cinnamon Toast Crunch is a great flavour for ice cream, and I’ll leave it at that.
Strawberry croissant at Nord Lyon
The strawberry croissant at Nord Lyon is named after the bakery; it’s always a safe bet to order a restaurant’s namesake dish, and in this case, the croissant has a nice buttery flavour and a healthy amount of sweet strawberry jam. It was pretty stale when I tried it, but maybe you’ll have better luck?
Funnel cake at Canada’s Wonderland
It turns out that Canada’s Wonderland is actually pretty boring for food — at least half of the eateries are locations of Pizza Pizza or Subway, and the rest all serve stuff like burgers and chicken strips, with almost none of the over-the-top carnival-style fun you might expect. But! They still serve funnel cakes — topped with soft serve and a chunky strawberry sauce — and they’re just as good as you remember. No… better. If there’s a better combo than fresh fried dough, creamy ice cream, and sweet strawberry sauce, I’d like to hear about it.
Location: 1533 Queen Street West, Toronto
Gus Tacos have three locations in the GTA; they’re clearly successful for a reason. My tacos were great, and my dining companion raved about his burrito. Supposedly, the tortas are quite good as well. Clearly, I need to come back.
The woman behind the counter mentioned that the barbacoa (braised lamb) taco is their most popular choice; I ordered that along with the chilorio, which turned out to be very similar to the barbacoa, but with pork. Probably not the best two choices, as they were both along the same lines — but when the tacos are this delicious, it really doesn’t matter.
The tortillas were obviously fresh, which is a must, and while both tacos were tasty, the barbacoa wasn’t kidding around. If you like the slightly gamy flavour of lamb, this is absolutely the taco for you. It’s super tender, flavourful, and thoroughly delicious. So good.
Location: 1183 Dundas Street West, Toronto
I love croissants. I mean, who doesn’t? They’re crispy, they’re fluffy, they’re buttery, they can be sweet, they can be savoury… they’re one of the world’s perfect foods, and there are few things more delightful than eating a really great one.
Well, Geste Croissanterie specializes in the stuff, and as you’d hope, they’re great. I tried a sweet one and a savoury one, and they were both seriously delicious.
I started with the smoked salmon sandwich, which they make with a croissant that’s been formed into a ring like a bagel. The croissant itself is top-notch; it’s super flaky and buttery, with a great contrast between the crispy exterior and the tender interior. But the rest of the sandwich isn’t an afterthought, with some seriously good smoked salmon that’s definitely a cut above the stuff you can buy at the supermarket.
But it was the pistachio pain au chocolat (which the man behind the counter said is their most popular item — and I can absolutely see why) that really blew me away. I’m sure it helped that it was clearly super fresh, but oh man this was easily one of the best things I’ve eaten in a while.
It features that same outstanding croissant base, which is filled with tasty chocolate and a gooey pistachio paste (I wish I had taken a picture of the interior so you could see how glorious it is). It’s very sweet, but not overwhelmingly so, and the balance of all of the components is absolutely perfect. It’s so good.